Open Discussion Forum

Subject: Implementing an Infant/Toddler Care

1.  Implementing an Infant/Toddler Care

Posted 06-15-2017 01:50 PM
We are looking to open an Infant/Toddler classroom as an addition to our existing program. We were hoping to get some advise from other programs who currently have an I/T program.

The room we are planning to use is currently a preschool room but was originally intended for and I/T room. Space is not an issue, however, we are having some difficulty "picturing" the set up of the room. Some examples of our dilemmas are cribs and cots-do cots have to be placed in the same area as cribs? and changing tables location-how close can they be to a food prep area since they need a water source,

The room is spacious enough to hold 2 groups of 8 children-We will be separating the space with shelving and dividers from Constructive Playthings.

Any suggestions, comments or help on the matter would be greatly appreciated. The need for quality  I/T care in our area is abundant and we would love to provide it to the families.


Laura Richardson
Jefferson College CDC
Hillsboro MO

2.  RE: Implementing an Infant/Toddler Care

Posted 06-16-2017 04:15 AM
I am opening up the first center-based I/T care in my community.  If you fill out a questionairre, Community Playthings will design your room for you.  Please see the sample classrooms on their site.
I think that a double sink would suffice to separate the diapering from food prep issues.  It is really up to your licensing agency.
If your cribs are lined up against a wall, you should pull every other one out from the wall.  Children's heads should be 2 feet from each other.
Cots should be 2 feet apart on 3 sides.  I imagine you could use your enclosed space to set cots up this way.  As in any room arrangement, the caregivers would have all children in their line of sight.

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Patricia Jack
Boulder City NV

3.  RE: Implementing an Infant/Toddler Care

Posted 06-16-2017 09:03 AM
I am wondering what combination of ages are in the room?  Is it 6 weeks to 2.5 years?  Just trying to picture how that affects the layout.  In our state infants are 6 weeks to 18 months but I know in some states it's 12 months.  Also wondering at what age they are allowed to be on a cot.  In our state it just changed to allow being on a cot/mat to 12 months but I know in Kentucky it just says when it's developmentally appropriate.  I'm also wondering how you can protect against cross contamination without two separate sinks.  Sorry for the questions.  :)  I've worked in Compliance a long time.

Deanna Jackson
Columbus OH

4.  RE: Implementing an Infant/Toddler Care

Posted 06-17-2017 11:50 AM
The best is to check the minimum standards from your state so you are organizing your classrooms within the law. Another option (after following the minimum standards guidelines) is to use the Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale (ITERS) revised edition by Thelma Harms, Debby Cryer, and Richard M. Clifford.

Gabriela Sanchez Killorin
San Antonio TX

5.  RE: Implementing an Infant/Toddler Care

Posted 06-17-2017 02:55 PM
I would think the first thing to do would be to research Missouri's licensing requirements for toddler care, which I'm sure you know.
Another good resource would be NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children).  It's accreditation criteria give lots of things to think about, make sure you're doing and figure out how to do.  NAEYC standards are higher than licensing standards.  If you go to the NAEYC website and click on NAEYC accreditation, you should be able to find the Observable Requirements for Infants & Toddlers - Twos.  In this document there are 10 Headings and the ones you should look at are #3 Teaching, especially the C, which is Supervising Children.

Then you should also look at Health - Part A & Part C.  These are the main places to find answers to the questions you are asking.

If, too, live in Missouri and am familiar with Hillsboro.  If you'd like you can e-mail me and I will send you the document.  I'm are early childhood consultant and trainer and teach as a community college.  My e-mail is:    My phone # if you'd like to talk is 816-809-4752.

Best of luck as you redesign your room.  Community Playthings also has lots of help and their equipment is wonderful and long-lasting.

Juanita Springate
Essentials for Greatness
Lees Summit MO

6.  RE: Implementing an Infant/Toddler Care

Posted 06-16-2017 10:26 AM
My first thoughts are about staff training. Responsiveness is the core of effectiveness at all ages, but especially important working with I/T. Staff needs clear understanding of developmental psychology so that they don't over-help or punish in any way, and that includes the punishment of being disappointed. One other thing comes quickly to mind, be sure that a standing adult can see into all of the spaces.

Jack Wright
Success With Children
St. Ignatius MT

7.  RE: Implementing an Infant/Toddler Care

Posted 06-16-2017 11:17 AM
I applaud you for your desire to provide quality infant/toddler care.  There is such a need!  I have been in the early childhood field for nearly 30 years.  I have directed two centers, and provided care in my licensed child care home. After directing a center that provided infant/toddler care, I have gone back to an infant/toddler specialty in my home.

I have found that the home situation is far superior for infants/toddlers due to challenges in a center situation that we were unable to overcome.  Primary in the set up of infant/toddler care is small group size.  This keeps the noise and activity levels to a minimum and prevents over stimulation of the babies' developing brains.  Even the most attentive, skilled, and caring teacher can't overcome the negative impact that too much noise and activity has on the infant's developing brain.  If I were to direct an infant/toddler center again, I would place a single teacher per room with no more than 4 children ages birth to 18 months,or no more than 5 children ages 18 months to 3.

I have also found that a single teacher who cares for a small group is more likely to bond with the children in her care, than when 2 or more teachers team teach a larger group.  Bonding with a caregiver is crucial to good infant development, and a key quality indicator.

Along with that, I would create a separate nap room for children under that age of 18 months.  Children of this age need to sleep according to their own personal biological rhythms.  I found that the activity and noise from awake children often disturbs those who are trying to sleep in the same room.  In my experience, lack of sleep, when added to the the overstimulating atmosphere, (group size of 8 with 2 teachers) resulted in negative behaviors that even the most talented teachers were unable to overcome.

I hope you find these ideas helpful as you consider your infant/toddler program.

Elizabeth Werner
Cody WY

8.  RE: Implementing an Infant/Toddler Care

Posted 06-16-2017 02:03 PM
We have two infant and two toddler classrooms.  I would be happy to help answer any questions you have.

We keep our infants and toddlers separate.  As far as putting them into the same classroom and dividing the group with room dividers, I would check with your local licensure.  In our area we can not have more than one group of 8 infants in one room.

Vanessa Hein
Assistant Director
First Presbyterian Child Care Center

Vanessa Hein
First Presbyterian Child Care Center
Bismarck ND

9.  RE: Implementing an Infant/Toddler Care

Posted 06-18-2017 10:26 AM


I would suggest visiting other centers in your area so that you can get a feel for what an infant/toddler room looks like in action along with really studying the different regulations that your state licensure has along with NAEYC and ITERS. This will help you to set up a high quality environment that works. There are so many things to think about when you have an infant/toddler room that it is hard to mention them all in a post. I wanted to share my opinion on just 2 topics.
1)  You mentioned how you are concerned about the single-sink issue. I know that where I am from (NJ), to get around the single-sink issue, the teachers will have to clean and disinfect the sink (and work spaces) prior to using the sink for food purposes. This is very difficult when you are taking care of several babies and can lead to staff not following procedures. I've seen some centers get a portable sink (it plugs into the wall and works using a filled jug). While this takes some prep in the morning, it can ensure that you have a clean surface that isn't cross-contaminated.
2) You mentioned that the space is big enough for two rooms and then you would divide it. Don't forget to take into consideration how big the cribs are and the proper spacing needed in between the cribs and cots while children are sleeping. I've seen infant rooms where they are big without cribs but with the cribs it is very difficult to space them properly. You'll find in your licensing information the required amount of space in between cribs. Also, someone mentioned that you should put the cribs in separate room. Since infants need to be supervised by sight and sound at all times, it is difficult to do so if you have a barrier such as a wall. Ensure that the staff can always see the infants just by glancing (at all points in the room). This will prevent further compliance headaches in the future.

Hope this helps. I think that visiting other infant rooms and talking to people about what they feel works could be very beneficial.


Erin Daddio
New Jersey

10.  RE: Implementing an Infant/Toddler Care

Posted 06-19-2017 08:41 AM
You many find this study from Appalachian State University helpful. You can access it here: ECRP
Uiuc remove preview
Concern for infants' safety during contact with older children is valid; toddlers and 2-year-olds are learning how to control movement of their bodies in space, as well as learning about the nature of gentle touch. However, we questioned whether these concerns should prevent infants and older children from interacting.
View this on Uiuc >

Judith Mullican
West Jefferson NC

11.  RE: Implementing an Infant/Toddler Care

Posted 06-21-2017 10:53 AM
Thank you all for your suggestions. I really enjoyed reading the article on the mixed age grouping . It is going to be a great read for any of our teachers who are  concerned and to share with concerned parents. We currently have our other age groups combined so I see no reason why we shouldn't continue. Unfortunately, we can not bring our 2 year olds into the I/T area due to licensing regulations but I  know there will be a positive impact having the infants and toddlers together.

We have been in contact with our licensing rep and the only information we are receiving from her is to read the licensing book--which of course we have many times. We will be contacting Community Playthings for help with the items needed and best way to arrange it.

Thanks again for all your advise-any further advise is welcome.

Laura Richardson
Jefferson College CDC
Hillsboro MO

12.  RE: Implementing an Infant/Toddler Care

Posted 06-22-2017 07:45 AM
When designing spaces for young children, consider their visual perspectives. Because young children are built low to the ground, their perspectives are quite different than adults. An infant on her back on the floor, for example, views a hanging mobile quite different than a standing adult.

Sandra Duncan
Co-Author. Of Inspiring Spaces for Young Children and Rethinking the Classroom Landscape.

Sandra Duncan,EdD
Co-Author Inspiring Spaces for Young Children and Rethinking the Classroom Landscape
Schererville IN